AUSTIN, FEBRUARY 15 – Nearly 20 percent of elected state officials voluntarily signed a Texas Open Government Pledge, which is a promise to uphold the letter and spirit of the state’s open government laws.
“We applaud these lawmakers for demonstrating their commitment to ensure the public’s right to know,” said Keith Elkins, Executive Director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas (FOIFT). “As far as I know,” Elkins added, “this is the first time Texas legislators have been provided an opportunity to sign this pledge and we expect this list to grow.”
So far, 34 of the 181 members of the Texas House and Senate have signed the pledge, while four others indicated they support open government but make it a policy to never sign pledges of any kind.
“The FOIFT welcomes other Texas lawmakers to join their colleagues in pledging their support for openness, something Texas citizens have shown they not only expect but demand of their government,” said Elkins.
So far during this 82nd legislative session, the Freedom of Information Foundation is tracking more than 50 pieces of legislation, many of which, if passed, could make it more difficult for citizens to gain access to information about the inner workings of government or possibly slam the door shut on their ability to watch government in action.
The following is a list of senators and representatives who returned the pledge and pledged their support:
Texas House Members
Walter “Four” Price
Texas Senate Members
Eddie Lucio, Jr.
Four members of the Texas Legislature – Sen. Kevin Eltife and Representatives Scott Hochberg, Jerry Madden, and Tan Parker – indicated that they have a policy of not signing pledges from external organizations, although all four affirmed their support for Texas’ Open Government laws.
The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the public’s right to know about their government and other public entities. Since 1978, the Foundation’s goal has been to educate media and legal professionals, educators, students, public and business officials, and individuals about their rights and responsibilities as citizens in our democracy.